Neuropathic Pain and Medical Cannabis


It has recently been shown in studies that medicinal cannabis can be utilized to treat neuropathic pain.

What Is Neuropathic Pain?

Neuropathic pain is essentially a complex state of chronic pain; it typically comes with some tissue injury. People who suffer from neuropathic pain typically exhibit damaged or dysfunctional nerve fibers that will often send the wrong signals to the body’s other pain centers, yielding an alteration of nerve functioning at the injury site and surrounding areas.

The following are symptoms of neuropathic pain:

  • Tingling and numbness
  • Shooting and burning pain

What Are the Common Conditions and Diseases Associated with Neuropathic Pain?

A lot of the time, it seems that neuropathic pain does not have a cause. However, there are a few causes of neuropathic pain that are relatively common, including the following:

  • Diabetic neuropathy (nerve disorder that develops in people who have diabetes)
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Postherpetic neuralgia (pain following shingles)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Phantom limb pain after an amputation
  • HIV infection
  • Pain after chemotherapy
  • Atypical facial pain
  • Cancer
  • Alcoholism

Why Include Medical Cannabis to Treat Neuropathic Pain?

Neuropathic pain results from damage or irritation to a nerve in the peripheral or central nervous system.  Most patients with neuropathic pain fail to achieve complete relief from their symptoms under traditional medical protocols, including prescribed medications.  Medical cannabis, though, has proven to be an effective and safe alternative.

A study published in the October 2010 Canadian Medical Association Journal noted that patients suffering from neuropathic pain experienced reduced symptoms after using medical cannabis three times per day for a period of five days.  Pain levels were reduced, and sleep patterns improved.  Additionally, patients noted that side effects were well tolerated.  Researchers at the University of Glasgow had similar findings when patients used a topical cannabis oil spray.  Other studies have shown the benefits of medical cannabis for managing neuropathic pain when delivered via smoking, pills and vaporization.

Analgesic effect of the synthetic cannabinoid CT-3 on chronic neuropathic pain: a randomized controlled trial.

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